Rebellion Racing has scored a commanding victory in Sunday’s 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas, with Gustavo Menezes, Bruno Senna and Norman Nato claiming their second FIA World Endurance Championship win of the season.
The No. 1 Rebellion R13 Gibson, which started on pole, led from the start, only relinquishing the lead during pit stop sequences to the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid of Brendon Hartley, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi, which finished 51.524 seconds behind the ORECA-built LMP1 non-hybrid.
Senna stretched out to a 17-second lead in his opening stint, with the advantage gradually increasing throughout the caution-free Lone Star Le Mans event.
The win for the Swiss-flagged team came less than two weeks after Rebellion’s announced exit from sports car racing competition at the end of the 2019-20 season.
Menezes, meanwhile, became the first American driver to win a WEC race overall on home soil, with the Los Angeles native earning his third class victory at COTA in the last three attempts.
Hartley brought the No. 8 Toyota home in second, ahead of the sister No. 7 entry of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez, which headed into the race with a 0.56-second per lap disadvantage to the sister Toyota in LMP1 Success Handicap.
While out-qualifying the No. 8 car, Buemi got around Lopez for second place at the end of the opening lap, with the No. 7 Toyota dropping off the lead lap before the halfway mark.
It ultimately finished two laps behind the willing Rebellion.
United Overcomes Off-Sequence Stop for LMP2 Honors
United Autosports’ Paul Di Resta, Filipe Albuquerque and Phil Hanson scored their second consecutive LMP2 class win, taking over the points lead as a result.
The Anglo-American squad overcame an off-sequence pit stop in the second hour due to handling issues with their No. 22 Oreca 07 Gibson.
A strong recovery drive by the three drivers put United back in contention in the closing hours, with Di Resta retaining the class lead during the car’s eighth stop with 20 minutes to go.
The Scot finished 24.152 seconds ahead of the No. 37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca of Will Stevens, who along with Ho-Pin Tung and Gabriel Aubry, entered the fifth round of the season as championship leaders.
The sister No. 38 JOTA Oreca completed the class podium in third, meanwhile.
Racing Team Nederland’s Nyck de Vries faded on worn tires to finish fifth after getting passed by the class pole-sitting No. 37 Cool Racing Oreca of Nico Lapierre in the final five minutes.
The TDS Racing-run Oreca led throughout the race but faced several setbacks, including a spin by co-driver Frits van Eerd in the second hour.
Both the No. 36 Signatech Alpine A470 Gibson and No. 21 DragonSpeed Oreca faced brake-related issues in the race.
Pierre Ragues surrendered the class lead in the second hour when his right-front brake disc exploded on track, resulting in a trip to the garage, while Ben Hanley’s DragonSpeed came to the pits with no front brakes with less than ten minutes to go.
Hanley rejoined to finish the race, which saw all 30 race starters classified at the checkered flag.
RESULTS: 6H COTA